Negative comments are a fact of life and of business. And in this age of social media, they’re often public. It’s how you handle them that sets your brand apart.
It’s no good shying away from negative feedback by hiding it or ignoring. Nor is it wise to launch at it with your own emotional response.
There is a right way and a wrong way to respond to negative comments on social media. In this blog post, I’m going to share that with you. As an experienced public relations and social media professional, these are my five steps to handling complaints online…
(If you’d like to delve deeper into doing your own PR, listen to Rebecca O’Rourke’s podcast episode on this topic!)
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Handling negative comments on social media
1. Listen attentively
Negative feedback is as important to your business as positive feedback, possible even more so. So make sure you listen to what is being said. This could be an opportunity to rectify a weakness in your business.
2. Respond promptly
Time is of the essence, particularly in the world of social media. Your response time could mean the difference between a contained situation and a crisis. Acknowledge their negative comments promptly and in general terms, without going into detail you may not yet have.
This response should be public, as per step four.
3. Communicate effectively
Be human; there’s nothing worse than being met with a soulless corporate response when you’ve had a negative experience with a brand.
Be transparent but make sure your response remains professional. A complaint is a formal communication and should be taken seriously. So overly informal language will not be appropriate here. Neither is it productive to appear aggressive or defensive.
It’s a good idea to review the most common objections to your brand and spend time with others in your team to draft considered responses so you feel more prepared when negative comments arise.
4. Respond publicly, then privately
If someone takes the time to feedback on your product or service, acknowledge it. See it as an opportunity to engage one-on-one with a valued member of your community and change their perception of your brand from negative to positive.
Ignoring negative feedback is shortsighted as a business, and not responding looks bad from a customer service perspective. So acknowledge their comments publicly first, then respond to them privately to investigate their complaint in more depth and aim for a resolution that makes them feel as though they’ve been heard.
5. Know when to leave it
You’ve heard of “trolls”? Well, learn to recognise them. Some people just want to complain for complaining’s sake. Nothing you say will appease them and acknowledging their abuse only serves to fuel the fire. So focus your energies on genuine complainants with valid concerns.
Those five steps should leave you feeling equipped and empowered to handle any negativity that’s aimed at your brand online. If you need extra help, you can always give us a shout via our website or social media channels.
If you missed last week’s blog post about developing your marketing strategy, HERE IT IS.
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